I get this question a lot— how (and why) do you work with brands?
While I don’t think anyone should start blogging solely for the free products, it’s definitely an added perk to be able to create content alongside some really great brands who match your style. I started blogging purely out of a knack for writing, and the rest slowly followed with a little bit of hustle and a whole lot of heart. It takes patience, confidence in your work, and commitment on both ends to be able to execute a successful collaboration. But in the end, it’s so worth it. The blogger gets fresh content, being able to shoot new looks and share them with their followers, and the brands get real, authentic UGC (user generated content) and organic marketing.
Working with companies, and creating content for them, is a learning process of trial and error because each brand is different in what they expect out of the collaboration. After nearly three years in the blogging space, I’d like to think I get more experienced with each partnership. Here’s what I’ve learned works well, and what doesn’t.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. There is no shame in reaching out to brands on your own terms, as opposed to waiting for them to discover you. If you see a company you like, shoot them an email. You never know, you may end up forming a lasting working relationship.
Do know your worth (then add tax). If you’re charging a fee, be firm on your price (I suggest a media kit here). If they claim they don’t have the budget, politely pass and move on to the next brand. On the same coin, don’t feel obligated to charge for a post. Sometimes I will ask for monetary compensation, and others I work on a trade basis for free product. Do what feels right for you and your platform.
Do map out exactly what they’d be getting from your end. In my emails to brands, I like to personalize it and list out the exact deliverables they’d be getting from me (i.e. 1 Instagram post, 3 IG stories and 1 blog post feature– or whatever) in exchange for the compensation.
Don’t take on more than you can handle. There is nothing more stressful than having more looks to shoot than hours in the day. Sometimes, before a trip, I will send an obscene amount of emails to brands for collaborations and end up with more outfits than I know what to do with. When this happens, I try not to take on any new collaborations for a month or two before and after that vacation window to give myself some time to breathe and create content on my own terms.
Do know when to say no. If you don’t like the brand and what they have to offer, say no. Even if you initially say yes, but don’t end up liking the product, don’t post it. Don’t work with brands who feel inauthentic and that don’t match the vibe of your personal brand, just because you want free product.
Do try again. Reach out, and then reach out again. Consistency is key. If they don’t respond, or say they aren’t taking on any new collaborations at the moment, make a note to follow up in a few months and see if they have any opportunities available for the new season. You’d be surprised how many times I was told no, only to be told yes a few months down the road.
Don’t forget to tag them. Make sure you always (always) tag the brands. If they end up reposting it, it benefits both of you and you may see a bump in followers.
Do follow up (and through) with your deliverables. I try to always send a follow up email to my point of contact with links to my social and blog posts, and end it by asking them to keep me in mind for future partnership opportunities. I think this speaks to my accountability and leaves the door open for working with them down the road.
Do as many collaborations as you see fit. You can do as many collaborations as your heart desires, but it requires some hustle and tedious work on your end. I like to keep a running tab in the notes on my phone of collaborations in queue, and any deadlines associated with them.
Don’t let rejection get the best of you. Unless you have a steady 100k followers, expect to hear no every once in a while. It’s part of the gig. Try not to take it personally. Focus on your triumphs, and don’t measure your success by the amount of brands you get to work with.
Linen Midi Dress c/o Olive + Pepper.